How fast is your “world” changing?

The World is changing fast, and in new directions! How about your own world? Is it changing sufficiently fast to keep up with the “surroundings”? And, what should you do to keep it alive and kicking? Honestly, I do not know! However, what I do know it is that stand still in denial will not help you, you need to keep up with change proactively.

Although I have written before about this subject – being the most recent Backwards or Forward? -,  I keep assisting to crucial mistakes, and good companies going out of business. Keeping doing business like you did last century will, sooner than later, putting your company out of the business. Therefore, I insistinnovation, uniqueness, creativity, talent, and diversity are all key words on keeping a company striving and excelling, however, I would like to add alertness, adaptation and adoption to the list; – Please read the article Adopt, Adapt or Adios! by William Powell –  The solution passes by working hard, creating new trends, being unique, and taking advantage of what is happening around you. Ignoring or closing your eyes to changes will lead you nowhere, and only make you lose time and competitiveness.

Some ideas! Stimulate brainstorming around trends inside your company, have a special team working on future trends (even if in part-time), and link them strongly with your R&D and Innovation teams, and try out innovative projects. Ah, and do not afraid new technologies, instead use it at your service! Recruit the talent that makes the difference, people with a vision, eager to learn, and open to change.

Although Innovation is everywhere, also a post I once wrote, you will not be able to do it if you keep exaggerating on your skepticism to change and new trends. Please, do yourself a favor, stay wired to the real world, be inquisitive, and follow what is happening out there.

Innovation is everywhere!

Living in a world where everyday innovations are more important than breakthroughs, leaders must be able to innovate and allow innovation! Ah, and the good news is, ‘you do not need to be a rocket scientist to be an innovator’Innovation is everywhere!

Minor changes and little improvements may suffice to help a company being better prepared to face the market and its rivals. Everyday innovations, and not only big innovations, can help companies being more competitive! It is crucial to move from a “putting all the eggs in the R&D basket” mentality to an “innovation is everywhere” mentality! If someone working in the customer service develops a new way of handling customer complains and bring time-to-answer down, she is improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. If the sales team develops a new way to prospect clients in a brand new way its being innovative! Even in a department like accounting one can innovate. Everything that introduces novelties and is able to improve competitiveness, uniqueness or creativity can be called of innovation!

Open innovation and crowdsourcing besides being very trendy nowadays, are also brilliant innovatory concepts! The idea of having key stakeholders helping a company solving problems or moving into a next level it is in my point of view amazing. The Social Media not only helps boosting these processes, but it can also be the process in itself. Social media brought a brand new way of interacting with consumers and brand fans, and introduced innovatory ways of lever on these interactions. By cutting off the difficulty and lack of commitment associated to the old fashioned surveys and inquires, where people did not feel motivated or committed to give suggestions or ideas, social media allowed companies to build strong online communities and transformed crowdsourcing into a competitive weapon. If a company is using social media networks to create alive communities and being able to build rapport around its brands and products, it is now better prepared with a real competitive advantage to face its rivalry.

A lot has changed regarding branding and marketing management, consumers does not want to be interrupted by advertisement campaigns on TV or an e-mail on there inbox, they prefer to chose when to participate or receive info from companies. So, when a person expresses her will to belong to an online community, she is already committed to receive info and, who knows, to engage. Ultimately, she can become a brand evangelist in helping spreading the word, and a fan committed to help the company with ideas and suggestions! Not only social media augmented the impact of crowdsourcing but also allowed companies to measure the pulse to its audience in a more reliable way! Social media democratized innovation in the sense that it brought common [inside and outside] people to participate in the process. In my viewpoint, brilliant and genius! Isn’t it?

In my point of view, innovation can be everywhere and carried out by everyone! 

What do you think? Is innovation everywhere? Can everyone be an innovator? How about online communities? Have you ever though that they could be a real competitive advantage to your company? Send us your thoughts and experiences!

Have a great day! Be an innovator but more than that, allow innovation into your company!

How Can A Corporate Culture Based on Frugality Save Your Brand?

I strongly believe that a company does not need to spoil resources to have a strong brand or be competitive Yet, we keep seeing companies spending and spoiling more than they can afford. Working for cost sensible companies gave me an insightful position on this matter, but never inhibited me of focusing on quality or brand image. Therefore, I still believe that if a company wants to face successfully the challenges ahead, it needs Leadership not vanity, and a culture of cost sensibility and frugality, instead of one based on waste .

Cost sensible does not mean less quality or weak brands, it means instead a sensible management of expenses. A company does not need to have expensive offices, latest state of the art fleet, or exquisite furniture to run a business successfully! It needs instead an informed and well trained team willing to be creative and innovative without a millionaire budget, and always committed to be lean and customer-oriented. More important, it needs a leader who uses the companies assets wisely and productively.

cost-sensible and frugal culture can work as a way of freeing up resources to invest in new capabilities and gain stronger competitive advantages. Obviously, for this to happen the company must re-invest the freed-up resources in crucial areas such as innovation, creativity, uniqueness, talent management, R&D or other that can add uniqueness and factors of differentiation.

I strongly advocate that a cost-sensible and frugal culture as a competitive advantage factor and a brand saviour. 

The Bad Habit of Labeling Everything!

In these days creativity is still a rare and underused skill! Why? Are you asking, or not!!! Well, a lot of reasons can be accountable for, among them are some old habits, routines or cultural aspects that very vivid in the managerial world are still strong inhibitors of creativity. In this post I would like to focus on something I consider a bad habit, cultural or not, something that inhibits heavily creative and innovatory processes. I would like to talk about labeling. Who has the syndrome of labeling everything? 

Obviously, labels can be positive, it will always depend on what one is doing! If one is doing Market research, consumer behavior analysis or simply searching in the internet, labeling can be very useful in order to make sense out of an huge amount of information and data. Abnormally or not, the positive side of labeling coincides with its negative one. At the same time that labeling allows people to categorize and put similar stuff in a common drawer, it also eliminates uniqueness and reduces everything to a degree of similarity. By enclosing things inside drawers and boxes, not leaving them breathing nor trespassing to the neighbor, labeling avoids all the interaction and mixture between different aspects and leaves out all the creativity, innovation and outside-of-the-box effect. How can one allow the overuse of such a powerful uniforming tool in the era of differentiation and tailor made products? Creativity, innovation or even leadership need label-free environments, places where one can play around with concepts and ideas and think really outside of the box. Labels and preconceived ideas bring rigidity into processes leaving people with little ability to break barriers and try new things out, key aspect in the commencement of this 21st century.

On a different angle, I also believe that we live in a world with too much labeling and too less uniqueness! Where the first thing someone wants to do when meeting someone is to put her inside a drawer and labeling. Labeling can also be very negative when doing business and negotiating. When negotiating, please do yourself a favor and do not label people, otherwise you can end up losing the negotiation. By putting people inside drawers one is reducing the scope, missing the key information behind the obvious, blurring one’s sensibility and failing to truly understand everything involved. When negotiating, selling, doing business or leading, avoid labels, and drawers, and your likelihood of succeeding will rise exponentially.

Lessons learned, pay attention to overuse, misuse and wrong use of labeling (categorization, tagging…), it can harm your creativity, inhibit innovation, or damage your leadership and company.

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The Art Of Brainstorming In The 21st century!

What I like more in the social media and all these internet and web stuff is the easiness of sharing, connecting and commenting on each others’ ideas. Social Media is doing its job and helping people getting more into sharing, communicating, and building up on others’ ideas. People is becoming more open to exercise their own creativity and innovatory abilities. People like to share and comment on other’s work, obviously that this is much easier today than it was a couple of years ago, nevertheless, this social change brought by the advancement in technology is boosting the whole phenomenon. Commenting, sharing and building up on other’s ideas is for me the basis of Brainstorming! Online or Offline, Brainstorming is a powerful tool and in my point of view, a competitive advantage for those doing it. Brainstorming has become a tool to generate a higher level of innovation and boost creativity. Honestly speaking I am a huge fun of brainstorms! I know that sometimes one ends up with a bunch of people trying to brainstorm and nothing happens. Though, the right question here is the Why! Why is it not working?

For several different reasons like, wrong people or place, or more important, wrong leader. So, another key question is, How can you take fully advantage of its amazing potential? For starters, Brainstorming only works if people is doing it in fully awareness of what it is at stake and able to speak freely. Meaning, only if you have a strong team spirit, a motivated team and you rewards their participation and willingness to share you will be able to profit from it. However, not having the “right” leader in charge of stirring, coordinating and conducting the whole meeting it is also a common and the most important mistakes! Even for brainstorms you need some order and rules, and nothing better to do that than having someone capable of leading the whole discussion. If you want to have a good, efficient, and fruitful brainstorming you must appoint a Leader to be in charge.

Another key question again, What kind of traits must be present in a Brainstorm Leader? In my point of view, first of all you will need someone with a good sense of what a Shaper and an Evaluator are. A Shaper will challenge people, be dynamic, provide the drive and courage to overcome obstacles and take some action. On the other side as an Evaluator, she will be sober, strategic, logical and more important she will see all the options and keep track on the good ones. And on top of everything, you will need someone who has a good sense of humor, a sharp common sense, an ability to stir ideas in order to think outside the box, a good moderator and communicator. Someone who knows how to ignite innovation and creativity, motivates people to build up on others ideas and suggestions, and more important someone who does not judge or inhibit people to take risks or share their opinions!

If Brainstorming can be seen as a competitive advantage, and I believe it can, companies must pay more attention to it and have better leaders to manage it. I have seen amazing brainstorm sessions where solutions are found, new ideas brought in to the table and a boost in creativity and innovation accomplished! If companies must innovate and be creative nothing better than start using social media to do it but also never forget to do it offline, in-house with your company’s employees. You will be surprised with what you end up with, an amazing set of creative and innovatory ideas.

Tip: Include brainstorming in your weekly tasks, do it at least once a week and you will see the changes after a couple of months! Your company will be much more open to new ideas, creating and innovating more, and your team will be more motivated and productive than ever.

Do not hesitate in contacting us if you want some more tips on Brainstorming or Share tips with us!

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